Monday, July 11, 2011

There is Still Hope

Two months from today is the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, which acts of cowardice included the flying of two hijacked commercial airplanes into the Twin Towers in Lower Manhattan.  Yesterday morning, unloading groceries from my car in my driveway, I heard the sound of a jet soaring in the skies overhead.  I did what I have done every time I have heard that sound in the one hundred and eighteen months since:  I looked up.  It is - it seems - a Pavlovian response.  Considering I was not outside on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 when all hell broke loose in New York City, I know not where it comes from.  I also know not for how long I will continue to respond in such a fashion.  I do not mean to do it.  It just happens. 

Time is a fickle mistress I reckon.  It disappears from between our fingertips with an ease of effort that no other element possesses.  Yet, while we cannot stop it, we can certainly make the most of it.  On a steamy July evening in Dresden Germany the United States Women's National Soccer Team certainly did just that.  Playing a player down since the 65th minute of the match and the recipients of so many truly dreadful calls by the Three Blind Mice officiating crew that I half-expected Julie Foudy to rip off her headset and leap from the ESPN booth and onto the field to administer a bit of frontier justice, the United States found itself down 2-1 in the final minute of the match.  Their options?  Simple.  Score a goal and force a penalty kick shootout.  Fail to score and go home.  Go home as the first U.S. Women's National Team to fail to make it as far as the semi-finals in the World Cup.  Go home as the first U.S. Women's National Team ever to lose two games in a single World Cup tournament.

In the 122nd minute, they scored.  My limited language skills do not permit me to aptly describe what my eyes watched (other than to say that Erica Kane is not the only award-worthy performer plying her craft on daytime television.  Brazil's sweeper proved to be quite the thespian.)  Do yourself the great entertainment of watching it on ESPN or YouTube (or right here). I double-dog dare you to not smile as you watch a young lady named Megan Rapinoe use her left foot to propel an absolute tracer across the field and into the Brazilian six-yard box.  A tracer that she served at just the right height to the right post where National Team veteran Abby Wambach - at the full height of her leap - to use her head to hammer the equalizing goal into the back corner of the Brazilian goal.  Had NASA devised a system for Atlantis through which the Shuttle crew has the ability to guide projectiles from Point A to Point B, their fanciest gizmos could not have engineered a delivery system superior to that of the Rapinoe-Wambach design.  

Having tied the game - and forced it to the decisive penalty kick shootout - the National Team still had to go about the business of winning it.  And win it they did.  Five Americans attempted penalty kicks.  All five of them scored.  After the first two Brazilian kickers found the back of the net, U.S. keeper Hope Solo did what she does so well.  Solo was cat-quick, guessing correctly that Brazil's third kicker would aim low and to her right as the first two had.  She snuffed it out and made the save that ultimately won the shootout.  While I know not whether the Daily News asked her for the dope after the game, had they done so one knows how she would have replied.

And from defeat's jaws, the American Women's National Team snatched the most remarkable of victories.  Surprising?  Perhaps.  But then again perhaps not.  The game was played on July 10th after all.  And as any student of time knows, our Women's National Team owns that date

Time after time.

-AK

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